WA New Driver’s License

Are you ready for your new driver’s license in Washington? Well, get ready because there is a lot to know before you even step foot in the Washington DOL office that can accommodate your licensing needs.

The first thing you should do as you prepare for your trip to the driver’s licensing office is decide which type of Washington driver’s license is right for you.

  • Standard driver’s license, known as Washington Personal Driver’s License
  • Enhanced driver’s license, with U.S. border entry privileges
  • Commercial driver’s license, known as the Washington CDL offered in 3 classes (A, B, and C)
  • Motorcycle endorsement, offered only to licensed Washington drivers

It is important to note that if you are under the age of 18, you will be required to complete a Washington traffic safety class if you want to get your driver’s license.

Washington Driver’s Ed Course

If you are under 18, prepare to take the driver’s ed course in Washington if you are seeking your driver’s license. Driver’s education classes in Washington are offered through:

·         various high schools and community colleges throughout the state

·         state-approved agencies that provide these courses to ensure better awareness amongst drivers.

Any driver applying for a license under 18 will be required to present the driver’s ed certificate of completion, as well as hold an instructional permit for at least 6 months to receive the standard Washington driver’s license.

If you are over the age of 18, you really don’t have to take the driver’s ed course, but it doesn’t hurt. In fact, it helps you be more aware of what you encounter as a licensed driver in Washington, and how to better navigate safely through the roads of the state. Especially when it comes to the driving exam, you want to be prepared so passing isn’t an issue.

Getting Your Washington License

The next step in actually getting your driver’s license in Washington is to prepare for the test you will take. Of course, you aren’t going to know what the test holds until you take it, but you can get a pretty good idea form the Washington driver’s guide, which you can read and study from front to back online.

You can also take advantage of the Washington practice tests offered by the state DOL right online.

There are also others offered by third-party sources all over the net.

You then need to find the appropriate DOL office to take the written exam, which is not going to be offered by an appointment so make sure you contact the DOL office in your county to figure out the best time to stop in. Visit to find the Driver’s Licensing  Office in your area.

There is quite a bit for you to collect as well as you prepare for the testing to take place, as the written exam is only given after you have given the appropriate documents, information, and fees.

  • Driver’s ed course completion certificate and Affidavit of Parental Authorization, for new driver’s under 18.
  • Proof of age and ID.
  • Driver’s License application only offered by the DOL office.
  • Social Security number and proof of Washington residential address.
  • Proof of citizenship.
  • $45 new license fee ($20 designated for testing and $25 for the license)

You will then be required to complete a vision exam, followed by the written exam, and then the road exam. Remember that these steps are followed in that pattern, and without the written exam being passed, you will not take the road exam.

New to Washington

If you are a licensed driver from another state transitioning into Washington, you will have different rules here. You will have 30 days from the date you establish your Washington residency to get a new license in the state, which can be much easier than if you weren’t licensed. As long as your out-of-state driver’s license is still valid in the other state, Washington will allow you to skip the written and road exam, only having to take the vision exam and pay your $25 new driver’s license fee.

Once the new Washington license is issued, your out-of-state license is returned to you invalidated, along with a temporary license for Washington. You will then receive your official state license in the mail within the next 5 days.

Taking Your Driver’s Road Exam in Washington

Once the written exam is under your belt, you will be required to then take the next step in getting your license by completing and passing the road exam, which is about 20-30 minutes of driving in which you must obtain at least a score of 80% or higher in order to pass.

You will be required to bring your own vehicle, and it must be registered in Washington and have a current and adequate insurance policy. You will also be required to make an appointment first, as these tests are only offered by appointment. Don’t forget to bring a licensed driver with you also, as they are required to be there for your exam.

If you fail the exam, you will be given another try after a week has passed, with a second try one to three weeks afterwards if you fail again. If you fail for a third time, however, you will be required to wait for 3 months before you can take the test again.

If you pass the exam, your temporary license is issued, which remains valid for only 45 days. You will then receive the new license in the mail between 5 and 12 days, but if you haven’t received it in a month, you need to contact the DOL office in your county.


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